We here at Gone Pecan are happy to be a part of the Unplug and Read Blog Tour hosted by Random House Kids, which encourages everyone to turn off the screen and read or do other things that involve using your imagination and not burning the batteries on your various devices. Screen Free weeks from April 29 to May 5 this year. If you’d like more information, you can check out their facebook page, and also check out this video:
For our part, Random House sent me a book, a real, tangible book that I can hold and smell and spill coffee on (which I did) to review.
All Dylan wants is mojo. What is mojo? It’s power. The ability to command respect. It’s everything Dylan doesn’t have. He gets no respect at school, and when he finds the dead body of a classmate, even the police push him around. All the thanks he gets for trying to help the investigation with his crime drama skills is a new nickname at school: Body Bag. So when Dylan hears about a missing rich girl from the other side of town, he jumps at the chance to dive into this mystery. Surely if he cracks a case involving a girl this beautiful and this rich, he’ll get not only a hefty cash reward, but the mojo he’s looking for.
His investigation takes him into the world of an elite private high school and an underground club called Gangland. As Dylan—along with his loyal friends Audrey and Randy—falls down the rabbit hole, lured by the power of privilege, he begins to lose himself. And the stakes of the game keep getting higher.
Dylan is an overweight kid who works bagging groceries. He’s not very popular, but he gets a taste of it after discovering a body because everyone wants to know all about it. It all goes south, though, when people start calling him Body Bag, because kids are stupid. Dylan wants to get a little of the popularity, or Mojo, as he calls it, back and in order to do that, he decides to investigate the disappearance of a golden girl, Ashton Browning. Dylan quits his job to devote all his time to “investigative journalism” and starts digging around in Ashton’s life, which includes being taken under the wing of some of her “friends”
Obviously, someone doesn’t like the idea of him investigating, though he’s being welcomed with open arms by the kids at the elite private school that Ashton attended. His old friends don’t understand his new friends or Dylan’s need to find the truth. Dylan thinks he’s falling in love with this missing girl, so he keeps getting himself deeper and deeper, so deep that someone threatens his life. The police and her family aren’t very appreciative of his investigation, but Dylan can’t give it up because now he thinks that Ashton’s disappearance is connected with the body he found in the dumpster.
This is not a book I would normally pick up because there isn’t a love story (you know how I like the kisses), though I am a sucker for a mystery. Despite the fact that Dylan was very immature (he was only 16) and initially only interested in the case for his own selfish reason, I really came to like the guy. Did I think he was crazy for trying to solve the case without an ounce of help from any corner or, for that matter, any idea what he was doing? Yes. But it made for an entertaining read. I really felt for Dylan and wanted him to succeed. There was a nice little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, so I have to say that I enjoyed the way the story played out. It wasn’t up to par with the YA fiction that I’m used to, but it was a clever mystery and an enjoyable hero.